Ukrainian foreign minister aims for peace summit by end of February

Ukraine’s top diplomat said on Monday that his country wanted to launch peace talks at the United Nations by the end of February, but would only let Russia participate on the condition that its leaders face war crimes charges before an international criminal tribunal.

“Every war ends diplomatically,” Dmytro Kuleba told The Associated Press. “Every war ends as a result of actions taken on the battlefield and at the negotiating table.”

“The United Nations might be the best place to hold this summit, because it’s not about doing a favor to a certain country,” he added. “It’s really about getting everyone to edge.”

Kuleba, 41, added that he wanted UN Secretary-General António Guterres to mediate the potential talks, which would coincide with the anniversary of Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine. .

“He proved to be an effective mediator and an effective negotiator, and above all, a man of principle and integrity,” Kuleba said of Guterres. “So we would welcome his active participation.”

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said his country was aiming for a peace summit in late February.

Kuleba spoke a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin said the Kremlin was “ready to negotiate with everyone involved on acceptable solutions” to end the 10-month-old war.

“It’s not us who refuse to negotiate, it’s them,” Putin told Russian television.

“I believe that we are acting in the right direction, we are defending our national interests, the interests of our fellow citizens, of our people. And we have no choice but to protect our citizens,” added the septuagenarian.

Kuleba downplayed Putin’s comments.

Ukraine would like UN Secretary General António Guterres to mediate a peace summit in late February.
Ukraine wants UN Secretary General António Guterres to mediate a peace summit in late February.
AFP via Getty Images

“They regularly say that they are ready to negotiate, which is not true, because everything they do on the battlefield proves otherwise,” he said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky presented a 10-point peace formula at last month’s G20 summit in Indonesia – which included restoring Ukraine’s territorial integrity, withdrawing all Russian troops from that territory, the release of all prisoners and the punishment of war crimes, as well as security guarantees.

On Monday, Kuleba insisted that Russia be held accountable for the atrocities committed by its military, saying Moscow “can only be invited to this step in this way”.

In an address to U.S. lawmakers last week, Zelensky said he discussed his peace plan and summit proposal with President Biden during an Oval Office meeting and claimed Biden gave him his full support.

Kuleba said he was “absolutely pleased” with Zelensky’s visit to Washington, during which the Biden administration announced it would provide Ukraine with a Patriot missile defense battery.

A funeral removes the body of a Ukrainian man killed by Russian forces on December 5.
A funeral removes the body of a Ukrainian man killed by Russian forces on December 5.

It shows how important the United States is to Ukraine, but also how important Ukraine is to the United States,” said Kuleba, who added that Washington had developed a program to complete the training. on the missile battery faster than usual “without any damage to the quality of the use of this weapon on the battlefield.

Although Kuleba did not mention a specific time frame, he only said that it would be “much less than six months” and that it would be done “outside” Ukraine.

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